Join the Feast - Jeremy Thom

Do you remember your favorite restaurant as a kid? Your favorite movie or how big the mall felt? Whatever it was, have you gone back to that restaurant, watched that movie, only to be disappointed and ask yourself, “what was I thinking?” I recently re-entered Lloyd Center, a place that has folklore imagery in my brain. And while I was impressed that it was still standing, it didn’t live up to childhood memories.

What about Scripture? Have you ever read a passage, then returned to it years later only to realize that it wasn’t the way you remembered it? BUT it was better! Scripture has this fun way of always getting better. New truths pop out and it’s like you are reading it for the first time, every time.

Psalm 23 has been that passage for me. It’s a passage that seemed to be used a lot when I was younger. So I figured I knew it, appreciated it, and took a lengthy hiatus from it. But recently Psalm 23 has come back to mind.

And cue the chuckling….some of you are reading this and saying, “Duh! Ardith Figgins used Psalm 23:4 two weeks ago, and last week Brandy Knutson quoted the whole chapter.” Okay, granted, it’s pretty obvious why this passage is coming to mind, but similar to Brandy, this has been a season in which these verses have come to mind even before the obvious reminders. I don’t know…maybe God is up to something.

Here’s the thing, when I have read this passage in the past I was encouraged by God’s presence in the first part of Psalm 23, then I switched gears and saw verses 5 and 6 as an encouragement about my eternal future with the Lord. This is a true biblical principle, but take another look:

Psalm 23:5-6
You prepare a table for me
In the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and your love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Hold up, ‘enemies’? There won’t be any enemies in Heaven. This passage isn’t simply talking about a future expectation. David is saying that the Lord, the Great Shepherd, is preparing a table right now. The Lord’s table will be one in which there will be a feast, with food and cups overflowing. It will be a table that displays God’s goodness and love, and overwhelms us with God’s beauty. It’s a table that we can experience now, even in the midst of enemies, hardships and trials.

This is the imagery I have taken into this Lent season. God has prepared a table for you and I, even in the midst of this chaotic and turbulent world. The question is, am I willing to pause long enough to sit at this table, to feast with the Lord, to be comforted by my Shepherd? The Lord is inviting us to set aside the things of this world that cast a shadow upon his table, and to trust him enough to enjoy the feast.

The Lent season is not over yet. You still have time to use this spiritual rhythm to take a step into further trusting God. Maybe it’s reading Scripture and/or prayer before rushing out the door to start the day. It could be participating in fasting (from food or phone) or taking a regular walk somewhere that reminds you of God’s beauty. Maybe it’s just going to bed... seriously, I remember a season in which I had to make a decision to go to bed and trust God, rather than staying up all night trying to fix a situation. Find a way to step outside of the patterns this world throws at you, trust that God is still at work when you are seeking him, and fill yourself up with the feast that God has prepared for you.

Lent isn’t about adding another rule to our lives. It’s about accepting an invitation to feast at the Lord’s table. It’s a table that will never cause you to wonder, “what was I thinking?” Sure, you might find yourself thinking, “why didn’t I run here sooner?,” but the Lord will quickly remind you that you have come at just the right time.

Jeremy Thom
Campus Pastor | Hope City Church